Can you sum up the past six months in six words? In a recent Op-Ed, Larry Smith, the creator of the Six Word Memoirs project, observes that times of extremes — “our toughest and most joyous moments” — are often ideal for his brand of succinct storytelling. His collection of pandemic-inspired memoirs, gathered from writers across the country, inspired us to challenge our readers to write theirs too.
The result has been thousands of six-word stories, submitted from people all over the world via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Letters to the Editor and the comments on Mr. Smith’s essay, including one particularly poignant contribution from the author Min Jin Lee: “How will my broken heart mend?”
A selection of some of our other favorites follows. And may we offer up: Thank you, readers. Your words resonate.
Zooming through life. Getting nowhere fast.
— Shelly Shalev, Israel
Keeping my calendar with sourdough starter.
— Melanie S. Smith, Boston
Same earrings, six months. Why change?
— Mary Roberts, Pacific Grove, Calif.
Aging in place. Goodbye footloose retirement.
— Cheryl Roosevelt Volmert, Denver
My dad’s last breath, on FaceTime.
— Bob Kirkman, Atlanta
Thank you USPS, for my meds.
— Redge W. Ranyard, Roseburg, Ore.
Gambling every day going to work.
— Louise Jennings, Colorado
Health care workers have no breaks.
— Marybeth Meservey, Boston
Familiar spaces and faces, ever-growing cases.
— Madeline Hall, Washington, D.C.
Give me six feet, above ground.
— Blas Telleria, Boise, Idaho
Yesterday, I’d give you a ride.
— Thomas Stroud, Overland Park, Kan.
Protect grandparents. Save an endangered species.
— Francine Hall, Exeter, N.H.
I’m a cave dweller with Zoom.
— Barbara Moss
I always wanted a small wedding.
— Samantha Kohn, Canada
Takeout for dinner feels super naughty.
— Kavitha Narayan, Plainsboro, N.J.
Showers and pants are so 2019.
— Clara Loon, New York
What to wear to the mailbox?
— Sunny Conley, Arizona
Yes Netflix, I am still watching.
— Kaylyn Lu, New York, N.Y.
Covid, Floyd, fires; I can’t breathe.
— Christine Elbert, New York, N.Y.
Sunless at noon; Covid. Apocalypse now.
— Heather Quinn, San Francisco
Anthony Fauci, the thinking woman’s crush.
— Antonia Thomas, Grove City, Pa.
Left house. Forgot mask. Turned around.
— Max4, Philadelphia
Distance learning: introvert’s dream, extrovert’s nightmare.
— Matt Porter, North Carolina
Sexting lives. Love our bodies. Again.
— Priscilla, Orcutt, Calif.
Learning to smile with my eyes.
— Boni Fine, Chicago
My dog is tired of me.
— Jason Roth, San Mateo, Calif.
Two baby grandsons; too distant grandparents.
— Wayne Woodward, Baltimore
Guilty joy: my college student’s home.
— Jennifer Kernan, Concord, N.H.
Good thing I like my husband!
— Kim Bealle, Darien, Conn.
I miss my mother so much!
— M. Natália Clemente Vieira, South Dartmouth, Mass.
Living alone but I like myself!
— Dudley Gilmer, Banner Elk, N.C.
For sale: spring workwear, never worn.
— Mikell Taylor, Boston
Lets begin the meeting. This —MAMA!
— Ashley Jackson, Seattle
Grand opening canceled. Building for sale.
— Shari Jarvis, Winona, Minn.
Tired of hearing, Mark, you’re muted.
— Mark Lebow, Milwaukee
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Jacob Blake.
— Hannah C., Brooklyn, N.Y.
My world today was unimaginable yesterday.
— Madelyn Weiss, Berkeley, Calif.
My physical world: limited. Thoughts: expansive.
— ANetliner, Washington, D.C.
Graduated college in my living room.
— Emma Garcia
My whole life needs a haircut.
— Paige Kouba, Davis, Calif.
Stayed in, needed less, valued more.
— Observer of the Zeitgeist, Middle America
I now understand my indoor cat.
— David Hirschberg, Medford, Mass.
Hoarded toilet paper. Shoulda been vodka.
— David I. Steinberg, San Francisco
Twenty twenty, the year of invisibility.
— Bonnie S. Priever, Los Angeles
I have misplaced my last marble.
— Alice LaPoint, Florida